Parents who said 2-year-old daughter’s death from pneumonia was ‘God’s will’ are convicted

READING, Pa. — The parents of a 2-year-old girl who died of pneumonia because she was denied medical care over religious grounds have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter this Friday.

Jonathan Foster, 35, and Grace Foster, 34, were also convicted of child endangerment in the 2016 death of their daughter Ella Grace in Upper Tulpehocken Township, according to the Reading Eagle. According to the Fosters, their daughter’s death was “God’s will.” The couple will remain free until they’re sentenced in April.

The parents told police that Ella began showing symptoms of a cold two days before she died — symptoms that later turned into labored, then rapid breathing. She reportedly died in her father’s arms.

From the Reading Eagle:

Both parents said they never believed their daughter was facing death, but had faith God would heal her. But when given various hypotheticals, their conviction differed, with Grace confidently saying she would be against all medical care while Jonathan struggled to provide concrete answers.

“I’m not good with words or telling you how I think,” he said. “It is a hard thing, it’s children, and anyone that has children knows it’s hard. I only want what’s best for them.”

According to prosecutors, the standard sentence for involuntary manslaughter is nine to 16 months in prison, with a maximum of 10 years.

As the verdict was read, the couple reportedly were silent and only bowed their heads. There were some 80 supporters in the room who also remained silent.

After they were initially charged, the couple lost custody of their other six children. The children will be placed in the care of family who will give the proper medical care when needed.

Featured image via the Reading Eagle